Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup




This is one of my favorite soups to make when it's cold outside. It's so nourishing, warming, hearty, and delicious. And it's very easy to make. It's important to soak the white beans and grains overnight before cooking them because it gives  a chance for deactivation of enzymes that cause GI upset, while maximizing their nutrient availability and absorption. It also helps them cook faster.


Tuscan Kale is my favorite green vegetable. Something about its deep green color and earthy flavor, plus its incredible nutrient profile, makes it a vegetable that I love working with. The soup is very versatile. Add different types of beans or switch up the grains. Add winter squash instead of carrots. Add a potato to make it more hearty or even add some organic sausage for those of you who are not vegetarian and prefer some meat. Remember, the fresh sage is key. It lends a beautiful flavor that goes perfectly with the kale and beans.

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
extra virgin olive oil
6 large leaves of fresh sage
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 large carrots
3 celery stalks
6 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cups cooked white beans (you can use canned, just drain and rinse them really well)
1 1/2 cup wheat berries or barley soaked overnight if possible (optional)
1 bunch of Tuscan kale, also known as black or lacinato kale
Parmesan or Pecorino for grating

In a large soup pot, saute chopped onion in olive oil and a pinch of salt to soften the onion a bit. After the onion has softened, but not browned, add chopped garlic, chopped sage, and finely chopped rosemary. Let cook only for a minute or so before adding chopped carrots and celery. Continue to cook about 5 minutes. The carrots and celery will be still crunchy, but that's ok. Add the broth or water, bay leaf, and the pre-soaked grains and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Taste for seasoning, and add salt if needed. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes until the grains are cooked. You may need to add some more water or broth if you'd like because the grains soak up liquid. In the meantime, chop the kale into thin strips, removing the tough stems if you don't care for them. When the grains are cooked, add the cooked or canned beans and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the kale, stirring continuously as the kale wilts into the soup. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil, serve with warm crusty bread, and enjoy.
Makes roughly 6 servings

2 comments:

  1. Just made this with a friend the other day. My husband declared it the best soup I've ever made (even though I didn't soak my wheat berries over-night so they were a bit chewy). It was so easy and SO delicious! I've shared your link on our FB page: Make Taste Review (as well as one of your cookie recipes). We've given it five out of five stars! Your site is lovely and the quote at top--perfect! Thank you for sharing :D We'll be trying more.

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    1. Hi there, Vanessa! Thank you so much for commenting. It truly brightened my day. This soup is so dear to my heart, so I'm so happy to hear you liked it. And thanks for giving it 5 stars on your Facebook page...you're too sweet! Come back soon <3 xo

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